Minimalism vs Consumerism and Finding a Good Balance

I am intrigued and interested in learning about all kinds of different philosophies and ways to live. Some make more sense than others but all can offer lessons that can then be tailored to fit individual needs and desires. Even if you don’t intend to ever pair down to an extreme level as some do, it is inspiring to see what others can live happily with and without. I think to be happy and to live your own more efficient life you have to find your own balance and find your own way. You can simply copy exactly what someone else is doing of course – but chances are that you will more likely be miserable than you will find happiness. Your circumstances, needs, experiences, and overall situation along with your own very specific goals greatly influence what the optimal solution for you will be. So you have to decide for you.

The beautiful thing is that you can learn from and take inspiration from many others and then go try the things you believe will work for you knowing that if it doesn’t work it is reversible.You can change it to more or less stuff. So even if you make mistakes along the way it truly isn’t the end of the world. Somewhere along the path between conspicuous consumption and extreme minimalism is a place that will be right for you – all you have to do is find it.

I would like to suggest that you consider these questions as you evaluate stuff;

Can I afford it?

Do I need it?

Do I really want it?

To be able to afford it does not mean to be able to finance it and meet the minimum payments – it means to be able to pay for it in full at the time you buy it with money that is yours to spend. Not borrowed money in any way shape or form. Then will it serve some meaningful useful purpose in your life right now, and will you actually use it?

Beyond those first two questions – do you really want it?

If so then it may be a good thing to get or hang onto. If it doesn’t then you may want to seriously consider getting rid of it. In the case of things you already have, that may involve selling it or donating it depending on the specific situation. In the case of things you are considering acquiring – then it is a very simple checklist. Use it if it works for you and if it doesn’t then create one on your own that does work for you personally. Then if you use it you will almost automatically begin to simplify your life and reduce your consumption significantly and down to a level that is right for you.

Me personally? I believe that when it comes to minimalism the truth is somewhere in the middle. I do not believe in extreme minimalism – but I understand and respect that some others do, and to me that is absolutely fine. What ever works. What I believe in is extreme debt elimination, freedom, independence and more self reliance than what we have been conditioned to have as a modern society.